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Taliban say they shut down girls’ high schools in Afghanistan for violating Sharia law

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The Sunni Taliban jihadist terrorist organization claimed on Tuesday that it closed all secondary schools for girls across Afghanistan in March because their existence would have violated Shariaor Islamic law, Afghan news agency Khaama Press reported on Wednesday.

“[G]Girls’ schools in Afghanistan have problems with Sharia, the curriculum is in opposition to Sharia and jurisprudence, and… the way Afghan girls would go to school was in opposition to Sharia and Afghan culture/tradition [sic]Taliban leader Moulayee Rahmatullah Najib told reporters at a press conference April 19, as quoted by Khaama Press.

Najib spoke in response to a reporter’s question about why the Taliban chose to abruptly order the indefinite closure of all girls’ secondary schools in Afghanistan on March 23. in sixth grade or higher to return to secondary school in Afghanistan on March 23.

Afghanistan’s Taliban-run Ministry of Education announced on March 21 that “schools for all students, including girls, will open across the country on Wednesday.” [March 23] – the first day of the new school year in Afghanistan – after months of restrictions on the education of girls of secondary school age,” Al Jazeera recalled on March 23.

Afghan women activists attend a press conference in Kabul on March 27, 2022 to demand the reopening of secondary schools for girls across the country. (AHMAD SAHEL ARMAN/AFP via Getty)

Based on this public announcement, girls across Afghanistan attempted to attend their local secondary schools on the morning of March 23, but were turned away by armed Taliban guarding the school gates. Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education issued a notice later in the day confirming its decision not to allow girls to attend secondary school after all.

“We are advising all girls’ high schools and schools that have female students above grade six that they are absent until the next order [sic]“, we read in the press release.

The ministry added that “schools for girls will be closed until a plan is developed in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture,” Al Jazeera reported at the time, citing the state-run Afghan Bakhtar news agency.

Sixth grade girls are usually around 11 or 12 years old. The Taliban’s refusal to allow girls past sixth grade to attend school appears to be reminiscent of their past education policy when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

“When the religious Taliban army invaded Kabul in September 1996, they closed girls’ schools, claiming the curriculum was contrary to the principles of Islam,” The Associated Press reported in June 1998. “Schools for boys have since reopened and the Taliban has allowed girls aged 8 and under to study only the Islamic holy book, the Koran.

Afghan women and girls take part in a protest outside the Ministry of Education in Kabul on March 26, 2022, demanding the reopening of high schools for girls. (AHMAD SAHEL ARMAN/AFP via Getty)

“After the age of 8, girls must leave school,” noted the news agency at the time.

The Taliban seized control of the once US-backed Afghan government on August 15, 2021 and vowed to restore Sharia as the foundation of the Afghan legal and political system two days later.

“There will be no democratic system at all because it has no basis in our country,” Taliban commander Waheedullah Hashimi told Reuters on August 17, 2021.

“We will not discuss what kind of political system we should apply in Afghanistan because it is clear. It’s Sharia and that’s it,” he said.

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